Have you got a Swarm of honey bees?

Swarming is a honey bee colony's natural means of reproduction. In the process of swarming, a single colony splits into two or more distinct colonies. Honey bee swarms are not highly dangerous under most circumstances. Swarming honey bees feed prior to swarming, reducing their ability to sting. Further, bees away from the vicinity of their nest (offspring and food stores) are less defensive and are unlikely to sting unless provoked.

The reason a honey bee swarm looks like a clump of bees, is because all of the workers are gathered around the queen, hence forming a clump. Swarms vary in sizes from a few thousand bees to 10s of thousands of bees.

Contact details

Are they grouped together like this? If so, it is a honey bee swarm.

Do the individual insects look like any of these below?

Images are relative to size, but are not shown to scale.

Honey Bee

Bumble Bee

Wasp

Hornet

Body shape

Thin body shape with little hair

Big round and fuzzy

Thin body shape with little or no hair

Larger and little rounder and fatter than the wasp

Colour

Black stripes of golden and amber orange colour

Usually striped with black, orange / yellow and white

Usually very yellow and black stripes

Brown, red and yellowish-orange markings with little black on the body.

When flying

Legs are usually hidden

Legs hanging down

Legs hanging down

Legs are usually hidden

Sting

Passive, will only sting when provoked (will die when they sting)

Passive, will only sting when provoked (can sting multiple times without dying)

Can be aggressive and ready to sting (can sting multiple times without dying)

Passive, will only sting when provoked (can sting multiple times without dying)

Usually live

Live in large colonies managed by beekeepers or sometimes in hollow trees or roof spaces (sometimes seen swarming on trees / branches / posts)

Live in small colonies usually in the ground or in empty birds nests, will die out over the winter

Live in colonies in the ground or in roof spaces or lofts

Live in colonies in the ground or in roof spaces or lofts

Do you have a nest?

If it is accessible we might be able to help. We will also collect honey bee swarms that are accessible.

We recommend you leave it. Bumblebee nests don’t live for long, so the nest should die naturally within a few months. After that time, the new queens will have flown from the nest to hibernate in the soil elsewhere.

Leave it alone if it doesn’t bother you. If you have small children or pets you can call local pest control to remove it. WE CANNOT DO THIS FOR YOU

Leave it alone if it doesn’t bother you. If you have small children or pets you can call local pest control to remove it. WE CANNOT DO THIS FOR YOU

For further help with clarifying whether you have a honey bee swarm go to: